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  1. routine; a fixed, habitual, or mechanical course of procedure: the rote of daily living.
  1. proceeding mechanically and repetitiously; being mechanical and repetitious in nature; routine; habitual: rote performance; rote implementation; His behavior became more rote with every passing year.
  1. by rote, from memory, without thought of the meaning; in a mechanical way: to learn a language by rote.

Origin of rote1

1275–1325; Middle English; of obscure origin


noun Music.
  1. crowd2.
Also rota, rotta, rotte.

Origin of rote2

1350–1400; Middle English < Old French < Frankish *hrota (compare Old High German hruozza); akin to crowd2


  1. the sound of waves breaking on the shore.

Origin of rote3

1600–10; perhaps < Old Norse rauta ‘roar’
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for rote


  1. a habitual or mechanical routine or procedure
  2. by rote by repetition; by heart (often in the phrase learn by rote)

Word Origin

C14: origin unknown


  1. an ancient violin-like musical instrument; crwth

Word Origin

C13: from Old French rote, of Germanic origin; related to Old High German rotta, Middle Dutch rotte
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for rote


c.1300, "custom, habit," in phrase bi rote "by heart," of uncertain origin, sometimes said to be connected with Old French rote "route" (see route (n.)), or from Latin rota "wheel" (see rotary), but OED calls both suggestions groundless.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with rote


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.